Swindon-based Multi Academy Trust The White Horse Federation (WHF) celebrated the topic of Forces at their annual Science Festival. 14 schools, which are all part of WHF, took part in workshops which put their knowledge of forces to the test, culminating in a inter-school competition to build and All-Terrain Vehicle and complete challenges. Southwold Primary School in Bicester came first in the primary schools challenge, with Swindon’s The Croft Primary coming in second. Devizes School won the secondary school category.

Children from primary schools across Swindon, Wiltshire and North Oxfordshire took part in the Science Festival. Pupils came from Mountford Manor Primary School, Drove Primary School, The Croft Primary School, Haydon Wick Primary School, Moredon Primary, Tregoze Primary School, Rodbourne Cheney Primary School, Gorse Hill Primary School, Zouch Academy in Tidworth, and West Kidlington Primary School and Southwold Primary School in North Oxfordshire.

As part of their STEM after-school clubs, Year 9 and 10 children from Gloucester Academy, The Ridgeway Secondary School and Devizes Secondary delivered challenges including building marble runs and Moana canoes, as well as building balloon racers, before taking part in their own ATV Challenge. Workshops were also held by interns from Intel using computer technology to repair spaceships to explore extra-terrestrial activity in outer space.

Ioana Scanlon, teacher and Key Stage 2 lead at The Croft Primary School in Swindon who has organised the festival, said: “The WHF is proud of the fact that our schools work in partnership, both with each other as well as with their local communities and local businesses. We firmly believe that we’re stronger together and that when we come together we can offer opportunities for our children which enhance classroom learning.

“All of the WHF schools’ curricula are built on values based education approach, which is a powerful instrument to improve children’s capacity to learn. During the Festival’s ATV challenges the judges were looking for our values in action, such as teamwork, resilience through continuing in the face of challenge and/or frustration, communication and respect.

“Across the WHF we want to empower children to believe that they can be successful, to improve their minds through the power of science and of course to have fun at the same time. We have a wealth of inspiration in our local community, through the businesses and their staff who want to inspire and work with our children, as well as our local resources like the NSBRC which can encourage young people to explore their future opportunities and consider apprenticeships alongside the traditional academic routes.

“The Festival is now a regular part of the WHF’s calendar of extra added-value activities for schools in the Trust. We’re already planning on making 2019’s festival even bigger. Other partner schools, including the Academy Trust of Melksham schools, will be joining us this year to see how they can be involved moving forward for the benefit of more children across the region.”

The ‘Build It Move It’ Science Festival was held at The National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC). The NSBRC is the UK’s only permanent visitor centre for self & custom builders and renovators. A unique and inspiring resource, which provides its community with the knowledge and support one needs when designing a homebuilding project. The NSBRC covers 67,000ft2 and is separated into different educational zones. Each explain the various stages involved in a new build construction via life-size cross-sectional exhibits.

In 2017 NSBRC’s celebrated its tenth anniversary and it proved a special year for the team. They were named Wiltshire’s ‘Small Business of the Year’ at the Newsquest Business Awards and received an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Self Build’ at the annual Build It Awards. So, for us as a MAT there is no better place to host a Science Festival where children can be inspired, collaborate, learn and be motivated to be aspiring future Scientists.

NSBRC Managing Director, Harvey Fremlin, says: “We are delighted to welcome staff and pupils from our local schools to the NSBRC and are really excited about seeing some of their interesting science projects on display in our unique setting. The collaboration fits really well with our aims of inspiring and educating people. Although these special visitors may be slightly younger than we’re used to, who knows, we may well unearth some budding engineers, architects or designers during the day!”

For more information on The White Horse Federation, visit www.thewhitehorsefederation.org.uk